Regret for a Trip Not Taken

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Regret for a Trip Not Taken

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This story is about travel that did not happen, but should have during the Covid-19 Pandemic. In mid-2020, my little sister Sarah was diagnosed with kidney cancer. She was married and had 3 children up in Seattle. When my family heard the news, travel was severely restricted and many people were still dying daily from the virus. I have my own wife and kids, so we all agreed that it wasn’t a good risk to go and visit. Besides, we reasoned, she hadn’t started treatment yet and she had good chances of beating cancer. So we waited it out. My sister and I talked frequently, and she told me that she was optimistic about her cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, our Dad died in January of 2021 due to complications related to Covid (he had Parkinson’s also), and neither of us could travel to do any funeral service. In April of 2021, the pandemic had cleared up enough that most travel restrictions had ended, everyone was vaccinated, and the risk was lower. My older brother Sean had planned a trip to go to Seattle and stay there for a month to visit, help take care of kids and just be there. He urged me to go, at least for a week or so because he told me that he thought it wasn’t going as well with her treatments as Sarah had led me to believe. Because of Covid patients overwhelming hospitals, I don’t think she was getting as much good-quality medical care as she needed, though that’s my opinion. Anyway, I didn’t want to go on this trip. I don’t particularly handle death and dying well, and I didn’t want to go there and be basically sad and crying the whole time, and I was in denial about her health, so I didn’t go. A few months later, in June 2021, Sarah succumbed to cancer and died. If I could go back in time to do it over again, I definitely would have gone. I would have liked to walk around Seattle with her and take pictures to put on Facebook, our primary means of sharing memories, or take her kids out for a few hours to sight see and get to know them better. I regret, and always will, that I did not go and see her and her family there at the end.

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This item was submitted on October 12, 2023 by Steve Crain using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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